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Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Lung Cancer Awareness month is intended to raise awareness about the disease, fundraise for research to find the cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, survivorship and a cure. More people in the United States die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At AnMed Health, we’re encouraging low-dose CT Screenings for those who qualify to catch lung cancer early.

 

What is lung cancer?

Lung Cancer is cancer that starts in the lungs and most often times occurs in people who smoke, but nonsmokers can also develop lung cancer. There are primarily two main types of Lung Cancer: Small Cell Lung Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
  • Small Cell Lung Cancer appears in smaller, round cells in the lung tissue
  • Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer appears in larger cells in the lung tissue

Generally, small cell cancer is more aggressive than non-small cell lung cancer, but the symptoms, causes, and risks are similar between the two. However, the stage of cancer determined at diagnosis will be dependent on the type of lung cancer.

Screening and Diagnosis

Early detection and treatment can increase survival rates from 15% to 92%. Because there are no early symptoms, Lung Cancer is often not found until it has reached an advanced stage-making it the deadliest form of cancer. About the same number of people die each year from Lung Cancer compared to those who die from Breast, Prostate, Colorectal, and Pancreatic Cancers combined. However, this trend can be reversed if the cancer is found in its earliest, most treatable stage. Lung Cancer screening by Low Dose CT is a safe, quick and painless. A Low Dose CT (computed tomography) scan of the lungs takes about 15 minutes and exposes you to less radiation than smoking two packs of cigarettes.

Find out if you are eligible for the Low Dose CT Screening by answering these questions:
  • Are you between the ages of 55-77 years old?
  • Have you smoked at least one pack of cigarettes a day for 30 years or 2 packs of cigarettes a day for 15 years? (must equal a 30 pack year history meaning "number of packs of cigarettes smoked daily X the number of years smoked")
  • If you have quit smoking has it been less than 15 years?

If you answered "yes" to all of these questions, then you are eligible for the Low Dose CT Screening. Contact your primary care physician for more information about scheduling this appointment.

Treatment

The treatment course for each type of Lung Cancer is very different. About 10% to 15% of all Lung Cancers are Small Cell Lung Cancer and about 85% to 90% of lung cancers are Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. There are three main subtypes of NSCLC, . The cells in these subtypes differ in size, shape and chemical make-up when viewed under a microscope.

After making a diagnosis, the doctor will describe the treatment options and develop a treatment plan. Factors that affect the plan will include:
  • the type of cancer
  • how far it has spread
  • the individual’s age and overall health
  • the availability of therapies
  • personal preferences
Because each person’s situation is different, treatment will vary accordingly.